Obesity, especially childhood obesity, is an issue that the city takes seriously. But one Upper West Side mother's tactics at P.S. 9 have caused the school—and many other parents—to become frustrated and weary. MeMe Roth, an anti-obesity activist who gets upset by "special occasion" junk food ("cupcakes that come out for every birthday, the doughnuts her children were once given in gym"), tells the NY Times, "I thought I was sending my kid to P.S. 9, not Chuck E. Cheese. Is there or is there not an obesity and diabetes epidemic in this country?”
Apparently Roth tells her kids to dump any junk food they receive in school into a piece of Tupperware, which then brought the battle to a new level:
This solution seemed to be working pretty well until Ms. Roth’s daughter dutifully tried to stick a juice pop — a special class treat from her teacher on a hot day — into her plastic container. The teacher told Ms. Roth’s daughter to eat it or lose it, and according to the child pointed out that she had seen the young girl eating the corn chips served with school lunch — did that not count as junk food?
This prompted one of Ms. Roth’s infamous heated e-mail messages to the school. Which, in turn, prompted administrators to pull her daughter out of class to discuss the juice pop incident, which only further infuriated Ms. Roth, who said her daughter felt as if she’d been ambushed.
Roth and her husband say that school suggested "they should request a health and safety transfer, something that generally follows threats of violence," which would mean filing a complaint with the police. Ben Roth said, "What would that conversation even sound like? 'We know you guys are dealing with stabbings and shootings, but stop everything: We have a cupcake situation'?" While some parents think MeMe Roth has valid concerns, they think she's abrasive. P.S. 9's principals also says Roth once "threw candy onto the table and cursed" during a meeting and has repeatedly "displayed this hostile behavior."
Jezebel once pointed out that MeMe Roth essentially compared eating to rape in an interview with The Guardian, "The defence has been made in the case of sex criminals that there is pleasure on the part of the victim. The same is true with what we're doing with food. We may abuse our bodies with food, but it's incredibly pleasurable" and proudly admitted to throwing away all the ice cream sundae toppings at the local Y. And the Roths previously lived in Millburn, NJ, where a PTA member told them, "Please consider moving," after a crusade against bagels.